NM Incite reveals that knowing someone in real-life is the number one reason people friend them on Facebook. Of the 1,865 adult social media users surveyed, 82% reported that they friend people they know in real life and 41% cite "don't know well" as the top reason for Facebook unfriending people. How does this data size up against Facebook's purported purpose of "helping build closer ties among friends"?New research from Nielsen's
The Nielsen study notes that the average Facebook user has 130 friends - closer to Dunbar's number, the number of people you actually know and keep in touch with, which is around 100 to 230. Yet the top reasons for adding friends, after the 82% which say it's "know in real life," don't match up. Sixty percent of people say they add friends because of a mutual friend, whereas only 11% add for business networks. Eight percent add for physical attractiveness. Then there's the 7% who just want to increase their friend count and the next 7% who are Facebook whores and just friend everyone. When it comes to gender, men use Facebook more for networking and dating, whereas women see Facebook more as a social and creative space.
A recent NYTimes article entitled "The Facebook Resisters" took a look at the people who, for one reason or another, decided that Facebook was just too much information for them. One person interviewed for the article clearly explained the alienation that Facebook caused her to feel, saying that she wasn't calling her friends anymore, she was just seeing their updates and felt like she was connecting when, in fact, she was not.
So, let's recap: A whopping 82% of people add Facebook friends because they know them in real life. On the flip side, 55% remove friends for "offensive comments" and 41% remove friends because they realize that they don't know them very well. This suggests that most Facebook users don't really know the people they friend in the first place.